Students claim victory in fee rise rejection

ELLE HUNT
Last updated 07:58 04/12/2012

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Victoria University's application to raise fees by double the amount allowed by law has been rejected, prompting its students' association to claim a "win for students".

The Tertiary Education Commission has declined the university's application to raise fees for its education, humanities and social sciences papers by 8 per cent.

Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh said in October that the move to increase fees was "about creating a level playing field for all universities", as Victoria's fees for undergraduate courses in education, humanities and social sciences were among the lowest in the country, costing it about $2.3 million a year.

TEC spokeswoman Kate Richards said the commission's board declined Victoria's application because an education provider had to meet four criteria in order to be granted an exemption - and Victoria only "partially met one".

Chancellor Ian McKinnon said the decision meant Victoria would "continue to operate at a disadvantage.

"All universities in New Zealand are measured by the same criteria, and are required to meet performance commitments that are the same for all.

"[But] Victoria is operating in this environment with significantly less resource than others, which is an unreasonable expectation.

"We will continue to work with the TEC to explore other ways to address this disparity."

But Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association president Bridie Hood said the decision was a "win for students".

"The response we've got from students is really positive - an increase in costs doesn't necessarily mean an increase in quality.

"We didn't think there was another evidence in Victoria's application to be granted an increase, so we're really excited by TEC's decision."

Massey University's application to increase fees by 8 per cent was not considered because it was received after the closing date for submissions.

Both education providers will now raise fees across the board by 4 per cent, the maximum allowed under the TEC's annual cap.

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- The Dominion Post

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